“The left — defined as that current of thought, politics, and policy that stresses social improvements over macroeconomic orthodoxy, egalitarian distribution of wealth over its creation, sovereignty over international cooperation, democracy (at least when in opposition, if not necessarily once in power) over governmental effectiveness — has followed two different paths in Latin America. One left sprang up out of the Communist International and the Bolshevik Revolution and has followed a path similar to that of the left in the rest of the world. (..) The origin of the other Latin American left is peculiarly Latin American. It arose out of the region’s strange contribution to political science: good old-fashioned populism.
The best examples of the reconstructed, formerly radical left are to be found in Chile, Uruguay, and, to a slightly lesser extent, Brazil. This left emphasizes social policy — education, antipoverty programs, health care, housing — but within a more or less orthodox market framework.(..) The leftist leaders who have arisen from a populist, nationalist past with few ideological underpinnings — Chávez with his military background, Kirchner with his Peronist roots, Morales with his coca-leaf growers’ militancy and agitprop, López Obrador with his origins in the PRI — have proved much less responsive to modernizing influences. (..) This populist left has traditionally been disastrous for Latin America, and there is no reason to suppose it will stop being so in the future. As in the past, its rule will lead to inflation, greater poverty and inequality, and confrontation with Washington. It also threatens to roll back the region’s most important achievement of recent years: the establishment of democratic rule and respect for human rights.”
Jorge G. Castañeda raadt de heren beleidsmakers, van Washington tot Brussel, aan om de linkse wende in Latijns Amerika niet over een kam te scheren. Aan de ene kant bevindt zich een ‘right left’, dat heeft geleerd van oude fouten en sociaal beleid nastreeft en aan de andere kant bivakkeert een ‘wrong left’ dat hele bedrijfstakken nationaliseert om populariteit te kopen bij de ‘descamisados’ (T-shirtlozen) uitsluitend om meer macht te verwerven.